Bubbles are phenomenal spectacles to behold, right? Especially when displayed under the right lighting conditions, they can just be breathe taking. Basically, they are just a subset of air or gasses in the environment that have been distinguished by a thin membrane, usually of moisture, and are held in place by an astonishing balance between the air in the environment and that within the bubble. Eventually, they get overwhelmed by the external pressures of the environment and they burst into oblivion or as I would like to call it, commonness. They usually happen just for a few moments in time but they never leave us unimpressed with their characteristic charm.
I’d like to say that most times, the same thing goes for every great technological advancement that had every lit the face of humanity. They are always characterized with all the dazzle of economic growth, wealth, development, and an uplifted state of welfare until they go burst into the mainstream and onto the next big technology. Follow me through, we are still talking about bubbles here.
One of such bubbles in history is that of the industrialization and while it is still in existence till now, you would agree with me that the same manner with which it was a dazzle in the 18th and 19th and early parts of the 20th century, is not the same manner with which it is presenting its value in this era. The locomotive steam engine that was the pride of that time is pretty much an obsolete piece of technology when placed side by side with the kind of engines that power our modern trains today However, the Industrial Revolution is said to be the upward bending point in the developmental curve of the regions of Europe and the United States since the start of humanity. It was characterized by the invention of machinery for many trades that eventually became industries, such as Textile, Agriculture, and Mining as well as it saw to the commercial production and use of steel for the creation of these machines. Many became wealthy and lifestyles became better eventually for it. There was enormous growth within the regions of the world that took advantage of it and it resulted in more efficient production machines both for manufacture and warfare.
Fast-forwarding into present times, we experienced such a bubble in 1999 and it spanned on till 2003 or thereabout. It is one that many analysts call the dot.com bubble and it was the era when the internet became the focal point in our quest for development. It was an amazing time as the understanding of the power of the internet displayed itself in the extreme demand for personal computing as well as the utilization of the internet for many functions such as emailing, communicating, and transactions which we now term as ‘online.’ Some of the strongest cooperation in the world now boomed at that time and we still see the positive effects of this bubble on account of the number of Billionaires who have emerged as a result of online businesses. Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon just climbed up to $200 billion in net worth and the two richest men in China owe their wealth to the online world as well. Allow me to say that this is an amazing feat considering that we are all experiencing a pandemic and world economies are all on the decline.
Yet, I am still talking about bubbles… History always finds a way of repeating itself in the most alarming ways. Just like there was a resurgence of the Industrial Revolution, especially in the United States in the late 19th century, we are in these present times experiencing an upsurge in the number of businesses that are transacted on the internet and this time, I do foresee that it would be in a far greater magnitude than was experienced in the first wave of the dot com bubble. This is the reason why I say that. A lot of times, development is activated purely by the availability of the right technology that advances it. People latch on to the new tech as they become more aware of the opportunities that are presented by it that they never thought were possible and then the smart ones get to work in translating these technologies into more solution creating tools. However, since the emergence of this pandemic, and as is the case when necessity or survival becomes the drive for advancement, the humanity tends to push the frontier of technology and as such, a vaccine which had never been created in less than a year becomes achievable in about 6 months (Think about it).
Online services, which were at best required for virtual connections turned out to be the most valuable and reliable form of communication and transaction and it left most of the world in the wonder of the possibilities it could have been able to provide in situations where actual hospitals were unable to proffer adequate spaces for the sick, for instance. I do believe that in the bid for the world to effectively curb and eliminate any reoccurrence of any situation in the form as presented by the COVID 19 virus, in the bid for humanity to survive, there is going to be a huge amount of rapid development on the already highly developing internet in order to help handle physical human activities better.
With regards to bubbles, technologies are just like bubbles. They are born, they display their radiances and then become overcome by commonness and as such, they can be explained to have different stages through their life cycles. There is a Technology Adoption Lifecycle Chart I once came across that sort of explained the stages pretty well. With regards to Technology Adoption, there was the stage wherein it is conceived or innovated called the Innovators Stage, the Early Adopters Stage wherein the most proactive people benefit the most from the charm effect of the new technology, the Early Majority Stage where everyone begins to show interest in adopting the technology, The Late Majority Stage and the Laggards Stage. I am pretty sure the names used by the creators of the chart are pretty much self-explanatory to what is been expressed.
(Link for a more detailed description: https://medium.com/@shivayogiks/what-is-technology-adoption-life-cycle-and-chasm-e07084e7991f)
It, therefore, shows that there is a lot of importance that is attached to the time in which new technology is adopted as it relates directly to how much a person is able to benefit from it. Great companies like Google and Amazon have created wealth by latching on the internet by being Early Adopters who took advantage of the Charm Gap in the technology and built upon its leverages. I still believe we are at the tail end of the Early Adoption Stage and are progressing into the Early Majority Stage of this Bubble. This is so because in many ways, we are still experiencing and would continue to experience the climb in the development of the internet for a while and inasmuch as many people are coming to terms with its importance, tapping its ability for the creation of desired physical benefits still seems like a fantasy to most people. Therefore, this is the best time to take advantage of the internet in order to still partake in a rewarding head start in achieving its gains.
There are so many beautiful displays of this bubble and especially for Africa, it does present us with the opportunity of an almost level playing ground to showcase all our skills and merchandise to the world and in my opinion, this is one of the best shots at that, that we may ever get. You don’t need a VISA to speak to a client in South Africa or in London and yet you can be able to transact your goods with the person efficiently. How better can it get? You create an App in Kenya and you do not need to have different permission to transact it on the App Stores. Your fashion design outlet gets a world stage without you having to pay enormously, these are opportunities that we should not let slip us by. The same standards that apply to be a developer of an App in Sudan, for instance, is the same standard that applies to create an App in Canada and yet we are looking for other means to make money when we can just as well teach our young kids to take advantage and flood the internet with competent developers? The list is endless and I have written books on the issue, however, the real issue is, are we going to be proactive and take hold of these opportunities while they are capable of working in our favour or are we going to let it slip away and miss out on another big chance at stepping up to the world. The choice is yours, Africa… now I am done talking about Bubbles.